It is not completely known how diabetes influences the cardiovascular system. However, high blood glucose and high blood pressure in people with diabetes commonly cause changes in blood vessels. Research indicates that a rupture of a weakened areas of plaque within blood vessels can lead to coronary or cerebral thrombosis (blood clot). These changes may explain why people with diabetes have such high rates of heart disease, stroke, and poor circulation in the legs and feet. This also may be one reason for the high rates of impotence in men with diabetes.
Experts recommend that all people with diabetes should try to keep their blood glucose and blood pressure within their target range and should try to follow heart-healthy patterns of eating. Cardiovascular risk factors should be assessed at least annually for all patients with diabetes.